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Too Cool for School

By Taylor Arnold

Posted: Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014

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While the end of summer signals shorter days and cooler temperatures, it also brings an occasion most parents look forward to every year: back to school. But what are moms and dads to do when their little ones aren’t yet old enough for the classroom, yet ready to partake in some of the activities and structure that the older kids do? Anyone who has babies and toddlers knows the days can be long, and even just an hour of scheduled activity a day can do wonders for the psyche. Fortunately Charlotte is full of great activities that cater to the preschool and under sector – you just have to know where to look.

MOVE

The Little Gym of Charlotte
The Little Gym offers a range of parent/child classes for kids 4 months to 3 years. Babies and toddlers learn physical strength and muscle control, motor skills, coordination and balance that helps them meet their milestones during those critical first three years. Seasonal classes meet once a week for one hour, but children can join a class at any time on a pro-rated basis. You can also try a free introductory class to see what it’s all about.

2935 Providence Rd., Suite 206
Charlotte, NC 28211
704.365.3838
www.tlgcharlotteonprovidencenc.com

My Gym
My Gym offers classes for babies as young as 6 weeks, beginning with Little Bundles (6 weeks to 6 months), followed by Tiny Tykes (6 to 13 months), Waddlers (14 to 22 months) and Gymsters (23 months to 3 years). Weekly classes range from 45 minutes to one hour and include music, dance, relays and games, as well as a parent discussion where moms and dads can talk about their children’s development. Memberships also include unlimited “Practice & Plays,” where energetic kids can come have free reign of the gym between scheduled class times.

5110 Park Road, Suite 2D
Charlotte, NC 28209
704.522.6966
www.mygym.com/charlotte

Zumbini™
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Zumba workout, you’ll love the Zumbini™ program designed for kids ages 3 and under. Parents and kids can wiggle, sing and groove to the music. Classes are once a week for a 10 to 12-week session, and each session includes a brand new Zumbini™ Bundle containing a songbook and two copies of the class music CD, so you can take the class experience wherever you go.

Carolina Dance Capital
12210 Copper Way

Charlotte, NC 28277
704.542.4998
www.carolinadancecapital.com

*Also check out Gymboree Play & Learn Classes, Dance Fever Charlotte

SING

Music Together
Music Together classes consist of 45 minutes of music and movement for groups of six to 12 children and their parents. Children from birth to age 5 can enjoy a mix of original songs and traditional tunes from the folk, jazz and world music traditions in a variety of tonalities and meters. Classes meet once a week for nine weeks, and each semester families receive two CDs—one for home and one for the car—along with an illustrated songbook full of music-making ideas. Pricing and a list of Music Together instructors in Charlotte can be found online.

Various Charlotte area locations
www.musictogetherofcharlotte

Musikgarten
Designed for parents and their children to take together, Musikgarten classes include 30 minutes of singing, dancing, finger plays and body awareness games, followed by 15 minutes of free play on the instruments at the end of the session. Musikgarten offers different classes for each age group, ranging from babies to preschoolers. Classes meet once a week and are ongoing, so parents can sign up at any time. Pricing and a list of Musikgarten instructors in Charlotte can be found online.

Various Charlotte area locations
www.musikgarten.org

*Also check out Gymboree Music Classes, Kindermusik, The Charlotte Music School

READ

Tiny Tots Storytime
Babies and toddlers can engage in new books, songs, rhymes and games while parents can socialize with other new moms and dads. Storytimes are offered at different times and locations throughout the week, and offer age-appropriate programs for babies (0 to 17 months), toddlers (18 to 35 months) and preschoolers (ages 3 to 5). There is no cost to attend Storytime, but spots are limited, so be sure to arrive a few minutes early.

Various Charlotte area branches
www.cmlibrary.org

*Also check out Barnes & Noble and Literary Circle Time at ImaginOn

Storytime at Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids offers free storytimes every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. Children get a stamp every time they attend a storytime and when they get five, they receive a free gift. And for working parents who can’t accompany their kids on weekdays, most Pottery Barn Kids locations have in-store events almost every weekend that involve readings, crafts and giveaways. There is no need to register for these events, and attendance is always free.

SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
704.366.8550
www.potterybarnkids.com

CREATE

Noah’s Art
Classes at Noah’s Art run for eight-week sessions and meet once per week. The Mommy Me class is for children ages 2 to 3½, and the On My Own class is for children ages 3 to 5. Little artists learn the creative skills needed to draw, paint or sculpt, and each child leaves the studio with a project that revolves around that class’s theme. Pricing and a schedule of classes can be found online.

5110 Park Rd. Suite 2E

Charlotte, NC 28209
704.521.6657
www.noahs-art.com/south-park

*Also check out Small Hands Big Art, Gymboree Art Classes, Mini Masters Art Workshop at the Mint Museum

SWIM

Charlotte Aquatics
For year-round swim classes where parents get in the water too, look no further than Charlotte Aquatics. Toddler classes are for children 6 months to 2½ years and include songs, games and structured activities that build a foundation for water safety and independent swimming. The pool is kept at a warm 89 degrees and has chlorine-free water. Classes meet once per week for 30 minutes, and sessions run for eight weeks.

7835 Little Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28226
704.341.9673
www.charlotteaquatics.com

Little Otter Swim School
Little Otter Swim School offers year-round, small group instruction in a warm indoor swimming pool. The Otter Baby I program is for parents with children 6 to 18 months, and Otter Baby II is for parents with children 18 to 36 months. By age three, little swimmers work their way through beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, while parents watch from the viewing gallery. Group classes have a student teacher ratio of 4 to 1, and classes are ongoing so parents can sign up at any time.

Matthews Location
8200 Tower Point Dr.
Charlotte, NC

Huntersville Location
14415 Reese Boulevard
Huntersville, NC 28078
704.846.7946
www.littleotterswim.com

*Also check out Charlotte Swim Academy, Harris YMCA and Levine Jewish Community Center

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